Update November 23, 2015: Through negotiations this past week, USA Weightlifting was prepared to provide Caitlin a letter of acknowledgment that Caitlin qualified as an alternate to the world team along with some associated perks. In exchange, Caitlin would agree not to pursue this matter further.
The deal broke down over CEO Michael Massik’s requirement that Caitlin and her coach Sean forever be prohibited from discussing details of this matter in public again. That will never happen. Neither Caitlin nor Sean are willing to sell their silence. So Caitlin walked away.
While finalizing Caitlin’s arbitration filing for today, Caitlin and Sean decided a victory this week at arbitration, while likely and satisfying, will harm innocent, hard-working athletes and coaches. We do not wish to add to the harm USAW has already caused. As such, we will not file…today.
For now, we will direct our attention and energies to cheering on our team at the World Championships. We hope you will do the same.
Thank you to everyone for your overwhelming support. Go Team USA!
Update November 21, 2015: Great new summary on Reddit of USAW’s early missteps with Robles. Written as critique of the WSJ article below:
Update November 20, 2015: Caitlin’s story made it into the Wall Street Journal.
“[Robles] two-year suspension ended only in August, meaning she didn’t participate in the drug-tested meets that served as qualifiers for this month’s worlds. In a controversial move, USA Weightlifting recently voted her onto the team, essentially displacing two less-accomplished athletes who believed they had qualified for the championships.
Read the full article.
Update November 16, 2015: USAW has still provided no explanation or remedy. Thus Caitlin filed an official Section 9 complaint to protect her rights with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). The complaint details how USA Weightlifting violated its own selection procedures in five (5) distinct ways when the Board of Directors voted to bypass Caitlin and place an ineligible Sarah Robles in the 2nd alternate spot on the 2015 World team. Caitlin is seeking reversal of the invalid vote and confirmation to the spot she earned. Read the Statement of Dispute here (page 1 pictured below). Or see the full complaint filing.
Previously: USA Weightlifting has illegally blocked Caitlin Hogan from the 2nd alternate spot on the 2015 World Championship team. According to USA Weightlifting’s own ranking document, Caitlin is the highest ranked eligible lifter in line after the currrent 1st alternate, Rhiannon Reynolds. Reynolds recvd her alternate spot but Caitlin did not. USAW has provided no valid legal or procedural explanation.
USA Weightlifting has illegally placed an ineligible lifter, Sarah Robles, in the 2nd alternate spot. Sarah is ineligible to this day for at least two independent reasons:
1. USAW requires that a team member participate in at least one qualification event. Sarah not only did not participate in any qualification events, according to Sarah herself USAW intentionally prohibited her from doing so. (“Participation in, and posting of official results, in at least one Qualification Event designated by USA Weightlifting for the international competition in which the athlete seeks entry, is required for team membership.” (Athlete Handbook, Section 3.1)).
2. USAW only allows two athletes per bodyweight category on the team. Sarah represents the third >75kg lifter after Holley Mangold and Marissa Klingseis. Had this rule been waived or lifted prior to final selection, at least 10 more female lifters from the ranking list would have become eligible to fight for a spot on the team. (“The highest‐ranked men and women down to and including the number of approved team slots for men and women will be ranked for selection to the team, maximum two per body weight category, per the rules of weightlifting.” (Athlete Handbook, Section 8.1.2)).
We understand that USA Weightlifting has threatened to illegally substitute Sarah, an ineligible lifter, into the competition in place of Marissa Klingseis, an eligible lifter.
An NGB like USAW is not free to violate its own bylaws and athlete selection procedures. Such violations without valid legal and procedural authority give rise to a host of administrative grievance claims with USAW and the USOC, including violation of USAW’s own Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics. These violations also give rise to potential civil liability due to fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violations of other civil laws.
We are seeking immediate reinstatement of Caitlin to the 2nd alternate spot on the World Championship team and immediate removal of Sarah (who remains ineligible to this day) or valid legal and procedural explanation as to why this should not occur. We are also exploring options for recourse re: CEO, High Performance Director, and Board of Directors knowingly (and, it seems, repeatedly) violating bylaws and exclusive published procedures without valid legal or procedural authority.
More: Watch/listen to Sean discuss this terrible situation on The Barbell Spin: